BOSTON - Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce must have gotten bored with their usual roles, because the two pulled the old switcheroo on Monday night. Rondo, the team's assists leader, scored 21 points and Pierce, the franchises' leading scorer of the past decade, dished out seven assists as the Boston Celtics buried the Toronto Raptors, 96-73, on Wednesday night.
Boston (5-8) snapped a five-game losing streak in the process, thanks in part to a very strong first quarter. The Celtics led 29-14 after one, making 12-of-20 field goals to shoot 60 percent in the opening period. They also held a 14-9 advantage on the glass and did not allow a single rebound in the quarter. Rondo paced the attack, scoring 13 points.
Toronto made a run to start the second quarter, scoring seven straight points to open the frame and outscored Boston 24-15 in the period to trim their halftime deficit to 44-38. Rondo, meanwhile, was held to just two points in the quarter.
The slump wouldn't last long, though, as the Celtics put up 29 points again in the quarter while holding the Raptors to 17. Rondo highlighted the quarter, but not in a good way. The Celtics' star point guard went down hard after a flagrant foul from the Raptors' Linas Kleiza late in the quarter. Rondo stayed in the game to shoot the free throws but headed back to the locker room immediately after. It was confirmed that he had a sore right wrist, and he didn't return.
With a big lead in hand, the Celtics coasted through the fourth, sealing their fifth win.
Kevin Garnett chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds for Boston. Mickael Pietrus and Brandon Bass carried the load on the bench, with Pietrus scoring 12 points and Bass contributing with 13 points and nine rebounds. Avery Bradley scored eight points off the bench in garbage time to pad the lead.
Gary Forbes, a product of UMass, led the Raptors with 18 points off the bench. DeMar DeRozan finished with 11 points, Jose Calderon added nine points and Rasual Butler totaled eight points. The Raptors were without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani in the loss.
Boston looks to build on its success when it hosts the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
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